Scorching Ping Pong Girls – Preview
Scorching Ping Pong Girls:
Original Air Dates: October 3rd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Kamiya, Agari is Suzumegahara Middle School’s top table tennis player. But her ace status is challenged when Koyori Tsumujikaze transfers in. Koyori has a natural talent and only gets better as she plays. On the eve of the top nation wide table tennis middle school team getting trounced at the national championships the Suzumegahara Middle School finds its on a path to enter the nationals and rise up as new contenders!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Of recent I’ve seen a lot of clamor for more sports anime focused on women. It’s true that most sports anime in the past few years has been squarely focused on the boys, with shows like Days, Battery, All Out and Haikyuu dominating the landscape of summer and this fall season alone. There’s been a few female based Sports anime already, so it’s not as if the genre is entirely bare, but it’d be nice to have more and Scorching Ping Pong Girls is a potential answer to that drought– if you can get past the moe. If the build up for Keijo has taught me anything it’s that a certain section of the anime fandom is unwilling to look past appearances, already prepared to label Keijo as little more than embarrassing fan service, pandering schlock and while it’s art is indeed very much aimed at the male gaze we know nothing yet about the quality of its narrative. I suspect that Ping Pong Girls will suffer a similar dismissal for its moe art and atmosphere. It’s one of two things you’ll notice right from the episodes start: The sheer wealth of moe character designs and the incredible intensity of Ping Pong’s animation once the matches get going.
Linny: It’s going to be hard to shake off the moe feeling the second you take a look at its character designs with their classic eyes that are huge even for anime standards, and features that just scream of classic anime. Not only does it make the show reek of moe, it also makes it feel like it belongs to an earlier time, as the character designs resemble a style that was most popular in years gone by. If you were hoping this would mean a lack of fan service, prepare to be disheartened. While the fan service seems to be mostly limited to one big busty girl, the show takes every chance it can to focus on her jiggling breasts as she walks or plays. Furthermore, during intense matches, the girls get all sweaty and their uniforms become somewhat see through and cling to their bodies from all the sweating.
Tom: If you can get past the overload of Moe, Ping Pong Girls has an interesting dynamic. We’re introduced to two lead characters throughout the first episode. One, Agari Kamiya, the ace of table tennis club. She’s a bit arrogant, and secretly enjoys all the attention she gets for being the single best player in the school. She’s a lot of talk when it comes to entering the tournament scene and stealing the show, showing everyone what she’s made of. She doesn’t show it to most people, but we know from internal monologues that she’s basically riding on a current of superiority and even lies a bit to herself about how much that means to her. All that is challenged by Ping Pong Girls second major character, transfer student Tsumujikaze, Koyori. Koyori, who is a bit of an airhead and shy girl, is actually stupidly good at Tennis. Ping Pong Girls presents us with a dynamic reminiscent of Goku and Vegeta, with Koyori and Agari in those roles respectively. Already by the end of episode 1 it’s looking like Ping Pong Girls is going to get intense as Agari finds her position as the club’s star player jeopardized by the hardworking, fun loving Koyori who just gets better and better the more she plays.
Linny: Like most ace in sports shows, it isn’t surprising to see Agari crave the adoration lavished on her as her school’s top ping pong player. In a similar and familiar manner, Koyori being the new talented airhead is yet another sports cliche so if you are extremely tired of sports show cliches, Scorching Ping Pong Girls might frustrate you with its two main characters falling into very familiar stereotypes but there’s already clear signs that at least Agari might prove to be a lot deeper than just your average vain sports ace.
Tom: Outside of our leads the rest of the cast are a bit under defined at the moment. You’ve got the well endowed Mune who’s kind and friendly, although most people just focus on her rack. There’s also Hokuto and Hanabi, two other star members of the club, but neither gets nearly as much screen time. Hokuto is a classic quiet character, a bit emotionless in her dialogue and Hanabi is the rambunctious sort, quick to make declarations that surprise or even offend members of the team.
Linny: As discussed earlier, we get another fresh faced, airhead of a protagonist who turns out to be surprisingly talented. Thankfully, it’s shown early on that she still has ways to go but then the show immediately pulls a 180 by having her fellow club members fawn over her as if she’s already won the school several championships when she’s only defeated the first year members so far. If there’s any other character that stands out, its a mysterious and confident dark haired girl who is featured in the opening minutes of the episode as she triumphs over the former Ping Pong national champions. She doesn’t re-appeared after the opening and we don’t even know her name but she makes quite an impact and will hopefully reappear soon.
Tom: The mysterious dark haired girl definitely has my interest, and she certainly made a solid impression as she was polite to her opponents faces but couldn’t help smirking in secret over her victory. But it’s not clear how large a role she’ll play, as the episode quickly refocused on Agari and Koyori will little mention of the episodes opening moments. Seeing as this is adapting a manga there’s always a danger we just won’t reach the events where this bad ass raven-haired girl comes back into play.
Linny: As opposed to how cute the show looks, the first episode starts off intense right in the middle of a match where the Nine time champion is defeated by the mysterious raven-haired girl, a complete new comer in the very first round of the tournament. It’s all rather aggressive as the bitter losers berate the winner, spouting vain and hateful lines about how they have been the undefeated champion and that their loss has to be a mistake. This makes it clear right off the bat, that in classic anime style, the reigning champions are also raging ****oles and that you’re meant to root for the underdog. Even though it turned out to be a cliche reveal, Scorching Ping Pong Girls delivers it in a most entertaining manner, one that had us pumped and will hopefully be a hit for others too.
Tom: Ping Pong Girls is based upon the manga of the same name, which is still ongoing, has only three volumes and thus I don’t expect the story to get all that far. There’s a lot of potential here, I think, and plenty of sports drama for anyone willing to look past the moe aesthetic and appreciate the core sports themes and drama deeper within.
Linny: Despite all the cliches abound, Scorching Ping Pong Girls has the potential to be an enjoyable female cast sports show especially in a medium that has so few offerings. If you don’t have an issue with the excessively moe character designs or the fact that there’s a character whose breasts are a prominent feature of her personality, there’s lots of comedy, competition and personality to be found in its premiere. While it may not necessarily turn out to be one of the best, it starts off with an intriguing opening sequence and shows potential to be an entertaining sports show regardless of the gender of its cast.
Scorching Ping Pong Girls is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com